Jazz critic W. Royal Stokes passed away on May 1, 2021, he was 90 years old. He was a boogie woogie fan as a teenager but learned to love jazz from his older brother and a trip to see the Louis Armstrong All-Stars live. He served stateside during the Korean War before attending college, earning a PHD from Yale and a professorship at the University of Colorado. In 1969, at almost 40, he took a long road trip with his wife and they eventually landed in Georgetown where he washed dishes in a vegetarian restaurant and spun records as a DJ.
He published his first jazz review at the age of 42 and quickly became a prolific freelance jazz critic for The Washington Post and other outlets. Later he became an editor at JazzTimes magazine. He was honored by the Jazz Journalists Association in 2014. He had recently published a collection of his writings titled The Essential W. Royal Stokes Jazz, Blues and Beyond Reader.